Nettie Faye’s a real treat

Nettie Faye Modlin has been handing out homemade goodies like popcorn balls and donuts to trick or treaters for more than 57 years.
Nettie Faye Modlin has been handing out homemade goodies like popcorn balls and donuts to trick or treaters for more than 57 years.

MEEKER I Nettie Faye Modlin sees as many adults as she does children on Oct. 31. Her homemade Halloween treats have been a community favorite for 57 years. Her donuts, popcorn balls and apple cider are so well-known parents have passed down their love for her table of treats to their children.
“I enjoy seeing all of the kids in their costumes and seeing the adults come with their kids after all these years, just as they did when they were kids with their parents,” Nettie Faye said. Over the years she has handed out more donuts then many bakeries.
Nettie Faye was born and raised in Meeker. She is one of 15 children born to Fred and Annie Burke on the 160-acre Burke Ranch they homesteaded on Piceance Creek. The family celebrated 100 years on the same ranch 13 years ago.
“We all had chores to do, with so many kids everyone had their job.” She learned to cook from her mother. Annie Burke would make eight loaves of bread a week. “She (Annie) had bad asthma so she could not knead the bread. I remember climbing on a stool and kneading all that bread every week,” Nettie Faye said.
“My sister Claire was more domestic than I. I liked to go out and ride.”
Nettie fondly remembers the great games the kids would play outdoors; games that have been lost to many of today’s children. She makes an effort to show her grandchildren and great-grandchildren the fun of those simple outside games.
The Burke children: James Burns, Mary Alice, Anna Margaret, Richard F., Thomas Owen, David (Casey), Winnie, Freddie, Claire, Nancy Lee, Nettie Faye, Dean, Dale, Lex and Pat, had 24 children among them and the families continued to grow after that. This makes Nettie Faye an aunt to 21 nieces and nephews, and countless great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.
She attended the Burke Schoolhouse almost two miles down the road from her house. She then attended Meeker High School from 1939 to 1943 when she graduated, earning the Lions Club scholarship and attending Mesa State College for nursing. She attended college for a year before her mother fell ill and Nettie Faye had to return home to assist her. She never lost her love for nursing or for helping people and went on to work for Dr. Ryan for 22 years in town. She remembers many of the babies born between 1956-1978. Her duties in Dr. Ryan’s office included everything from manning the front desk to lab work to billing.
Nettie Faye married Lon Modlin in 1943. He was a World War II veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division before he fell ill with diphtheria and had to return to the United States to heal. The two spent seven years in Nebraska where they had two of their three children, Larry and Janet (Henderson), before moving back to Meeker and having Sherry (Rubin). Lon and Nettie Faye were married for 29 years before he passed away from cancer.
Today, Nettie has seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and an endless number of relatives around the community. She has always believed in helping in the community. She’s a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and she is very active in the United Methodist Church. She and her two best friends still visit people in town who are sick and help out whenever they can. She stays very active, hitting the yard sale circuit in the summer and attending nearly every church and community activity.
Nettie Faye loves Meeker. “I love the area, and I love the people. It has so many pluses. Sure, it has its drawbacks, as any town does, but being able to do things like camp or fish is what makes it special.”
She comes from a tough family and shares that legacy of strength. The only year she has missed making her Halloween spread was in 2010, after double knee replacement surgery. But this year she was back at work, a sweet lady carrying on a sweet tradition for the good of the community she cares so much about.